KIE hosts interdisciplinary dialogue on the Zika epidemic

The Georgetown Environment Initiative and the Global Futures Initiative convened in the KIE’s Bioethics Research Library this week to host an interdisciplinary dialogue on the Zika epidemic. This follows a £1.2 million grant from the United Kingdom’s Wellcome Trust awarded to KIE Director Maggie Little and colleagues from a consortium of other universities. The grant will help provide advice on the health interests of pregnant women with the Zika virus. The dialogue sought to examine the current state of public health and research efforts to combat the spread of the Zika virus as well as to stimulate a dialog at the intersection of science and policy to advance solutions.


The event featured keynote addresses by Marcos Espinal, Director, Department of Communicable Diseases and Health Analysis at the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO); and Jesse L. Goodman, Director, Center on Medical Product Access, Safety and Stewardship, Georgetown University, as well as comments from field-leading professors at Georgetown, Rutgers, George Washington University, and the University of Maryland.


Both Directors Espinal and Goodman focused on the cultural aspects of providing medical care: “I see this every day in the US, completely different cultures, training, and metrics in population versus individual health, each blind to and often even contemptuous of the other’s work,” said Goodman. “There is absolute primacy in communications and cultural understanding when attempting to establish trust in treatment areas.”


The event was co-sponsored by the Department of Biology, the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law, the Kennedy Institute of Ethics, and the Center for Latin American Studies. It is part of a semester-long dialogue on The Global Future of Security.